A Saskatoon neighbourhood in flux is calling on the city to clean up old furniture and used needles a lot quicker to deter unsavoury activity.
The Riversdale Business Improvement District wants the City of Saskatoon to respond much faster to complaints made to its Safety and Property Maintenance Hotline. Executive director of the Riversdale BID Randy Pshebylo said it can take months for the city to haul away abandoned furniture such as old couches and furniture sets that look unsightly and give people a place to hang out.
'It's the repeat offender that needs to be dealt with' — Randy Pshebylo
"It's one thing when my office handles calls from business owners, but when residents start to drop by, physically drop by, and call me and say 'I'm at my wits end and I have nothing else to do, nowhere else to turn. What can you do to help me?'" he said. "We need to find a solution and we need to find one fast."
Pshebylo said his office hears about 15 to 20 cases each month. He said that one property has been reported six times, while another was called about 38 times.
"It's the repeat offender that needs to be dealt with, and if it's the landlord, then so be it," he said. "There needs to be more responsibility to owning property within the business districts."
New computer system on its way
Pshebylo met with Saskatoon's fire Chief Dan Paulsen last week and plans to meet with Saskatoon city manager Murray Totland on Friday.
Paulsen said the fire department is developing a computer program that will identify and prioritize the 300 calls it receives each month in order to speed up response times.
"We have been working on it for some time and we anticipate that within the next few weeks we will have it up and running," Paulsen said.
In addition to the neighbourhood's annual spring cleanup, the Riversdale BID is asking for a fall cleanup. The cleanups are organized by the city's community services department and the Saskatoon Fire Department.
"There comes a standard of reasonable amenity of the neighbourhood that everyone agrees to," Pshebylo said. "In our case, that's changing, and it's changing for the better and some are finding out that it's not exactly OK to do what they've done the past 30 years. So to make that improvement, and that change, we need to help from the city."